Friday, October 7, 2011

Night of the Demon

Night of the Demon (1980)
Dir:James Wasson

Night of the Demon, Not to be confused with Night of the Demons, Is a Bigfoot exploitation horror flick which apparently had become a very small sub genre of exploitation during the late 70's and early 80's.
This one however gained some bit of infamy when it was added to the notorious UK Video Nasties list, and most every time I am shocked at how silly most of the films that made that list. I guess this one made it due to the Bigfoot Rape scene, Yes Bigfoot rapes a woman in this film and there is one other scene in particular that is rather graphic but as far as the rest of the film goes it is pretty tame and just goofy as all hell.
                  The film opens with Prof.Dixon in a hospital waking from a coma and being questioned about the events that lead him there and what had happened to his gang of students that went missing while on a field trip with him. From here Dixon ,recalls the trip but first he tells of a girl named Sara's father being killed by what people suspect was Bigfoot and Dixon the studying the myth of the Sasquatch decides to take Sara and a handful of his students into the woods of what appears to be Northern California to investigate the myth and track down Bigfoot.

After a few flashbacks to people being reported mauled and murdered by the beast, Dixon and his class make it to the woods and arrive at a local resident Carlson's place to look for some help in their search. At first Carlson is hesitant to help the group until night while the group camps out in front of his house, and one student Roy decides to take a bottle of whiskey to him for some drinks to loosen him up. Upon their discussion Roy is given a lead to a woman named "Crazy" Wanda who apparently is the daughter of the town reverend who had killed himself when his daughter was raped by Bigfoot and gave birth to a "demon" child. The next morning the gang heads to town looking for clues that will lead them to Wanda and the town is not very helpful as it appears they may be hiding something.As the gang decides to break for the night we get another flashback to one of the victims of Bigfoot, This one a biker who has his penis ripped from his body and bleeds to death in a rather graphic scene.

That night Prof.Dixon and Roy hear some noise coming from the woods while watching over the camp and they stumble upon the townsfolk performing a ritual of sorts where a woman is presented to be raped. Roy lets off a shotgun blast that causes the folks to scatter and sets a fire when some gas is spilled. The following morning they gang finds that their Boat and ammo has been stolen and they find a large footprint near the scene. After taking a mold of the foot they continue down their path looking for Wanda's cabin in the secluded woods.But not before two of the students are attacked by the beast while making out, lucky for them the girls scream scares off the beast before it can mutilate both of them. Finally in the morning they make it to Wanda's where she is not to keen on talking to the gang as she is supposedly mute. They coax her with candy and begin to make her comfortable until she is shown the mold of big foots print and then she snaps and kicks them out of her place.While the gang camps out nearby we get yet another few flashbacks to victims , this time a local woodsman and two girl scouts her are literally bullied by the beast into stabbing each other to death in a pretty funny kill scene.

While camping out near Wanda's house one student Pete hears some noise and heads into the woods where he gets attacked from behind and is shot in the head with his own shotgun when slammed into a tree.When the group hears the shot they head to investigate only to find the guns and blood but no body. Dixon once again decides to try and get Wanda to talk and gets her to speak by using Hypnosis. She then tells them the tale of what happened between her and the Sasquatch. She apparently was kicked out of her house at 15 for her father suspecting she had sex with a young boy, while in the woods she gets raped by the Bigfoot and months later she gives birth to a half Bigfoot baby. Her father being a man of god kills the child which sent Wanda over the edge.Prof. Dixon then finds a locked room where she had been keeping a shrine to her lost child. Prof.Dixon has doubts about the story so they dig up the child's grave to find a deformed skull , when Bigfoot arrives to attack.In order to be safe the gang then stays at Wanda's over night when she then admits that she in fact killed her father and the Bigfoot and her have been having a sort of relationship for years. Bigfoot then returns and attacks. This leads to the final showdown where Bigfoot brutally kills all of the students and Badly burns Dixon's face. We then flash back to Dixon in the hospital where he is wrapping up his story, which of course no one believes and he is diagnosed criminally insane as everyone seems to believe he was responsible for killing the students in the woods.

Night of the Demon is definitely a trend setter in a few ways. Although it is an extremely goofy and outrageous film it did provide some innovative kills that would be stolen or redone in future slasher flicks, Such as the sleeping bag kill famous from Friday the 13th and a few others. Other than it's innovative kills this film is a real stinker. The Bigfoot makeup is downright hilarious and the acting is on par with that. The film would have been a complete bore if it were not for the flashback scenes to the past kills, because other than that the large majority of the film is the group of students just roaming the beautiful country side aimlessly until finally making it to their destination where we actually see the Bigfoot and finally get some action.Exploitation fans may like this film as well as slasher fans if only for the horrible acting and gore effects, Though any casual fan of the genres would definitely be disappointed.As I stated before this film managed to make it's way onto the Nasties list and other than the penis ripping scene and maybe the very soft rape scene I don't get why this would be on the list, when i can think of many films much more graphic and disturbing that were made around this time. After all the bad acting, bad gore, and bad make-up I must say this film was actually a fun watch, just for the laughs there are to be had while watching this one.

Fun Factor:6
Overall: 5 out of 10

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